Nova Launcher 2.3 Beta arrives, brings us a taste of KitKat

November 11, 2013
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Just last week, Nova Launcher’s Kevin Barry took to Google+ to talk a little bit about the future of the launcher, and his plans to bring KitKat features over to it. Now just a few days later,  Nova Launcher 2.3-beta1 has arrived!

The latest beta gives Nova Launcher fans a chance to try out some pretty cool new KitKat-inspired features ahead of their eventual arrival to the official stable app.

There are two ways to get your hands on the new Nova Launcher beta. First, you can enroll into the Nova Launcher’s Play store beta program, though there are a few hoops you’ll have to go through to get it this way. The second and easiest way is to download the APK directly from the Nova Launcher site.

So what’s new here? As of now, most of the changes are minor aesthetic ones including the KitKat font, KitKat scroll indicators, the new KitKat-style app drawer icon, and more.

Here’s the full-list of features:

  • Kitkat scroll indicator (Settings > Desktop > Scroll Indicator)
  • Kitkat folders (Settings > Folders > Light Background and Folder Background > Light Circle)
  • Kitkat font (Settings > Look and Feel > Icon Font > Condensed, requires Android 4.1+)
  • Kitkat app drawer (on by default, get the old style by long-press > Edit > tap the icon > Built-in)
  • Transparent system bars on Kitkat (Settings > Look and feel > Transparent Notification Bar)
  • Transparent nav bar on Moto X (Settings > Look and feel > Transparent Navigation Bar)
  • Drawer tab indicator scrolls during tab change
  • Drawer scroll indicator is relative to current tab
  • Scroll indicators animate properly for infinite scroll
  • Backup/Restore from external sdcard (on devices with sdcards)
  • Fast scroll for vertical app drawer
  • Fixes and optimizations

You’ll notice that Transparent system bars are mentioned in the change log. It’s important to note that this feature only works with select KitKat devices due to hardware restrictions, and won’t work at all with Jelly Bean (with the exception of some TouchWiz devices) — as a KitKat API is required for the feature.

For now, menus and the actual app drawer also still look like what you’d expect from Jelly Bean. The good news is that Barry previously mentioned he is exploring new ways to bring these features over to the Launcher, so it’s only a matter of time.

To learn more details or to grab the beta APK for yourself, you’ll want to head over to Nova Launcher’s official website.  For those that have already given it a go, what do you think so far?

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